Detox centers can seem like frightening places. Imagery in the media often evokes the trope of the 70’s mental hospital, with terrible conditions and unpleasant people. This depiction isn’t fair to anyone. It’s not fair to the detox center, the rehab facility, or the people seeking help for their illness. So who really goes to detox centers? It’s not the type of person you expect.
Or, perhaps more accurately, it is the type of person you expect. It’s also every other type of person in the entire world. Addiction has no discriminatory factors. It doesn’t pick and choose based on class, race, gender, or sexuality. Addicts are often perfectly functional people whose functionality makes it difficult to admit they need help for a problem.
The People Who Go to a Detox Center
It’s easy to stereotype people. Media portrayals tend to show addicts as people who are loud, erratic, and unpleasant to be around. They get boiled down to a two-dimensional caricature of different addiction symptoms. It’s easy to stereotype people, because admitting that every addict is an individual with hobbies and a past and loved ones and dreams is — difficult to swallow. We want addicts to be two-dimensional, because then we don’t have to do the work of meeting them halfway.
But that’s simply not the truth. The truth is that people from all walks of life might go to a detox center. You can’t tell someone’s story by simply looking at them. Boiling someone down to their most two-dimensional traits is no way to treat the human experience. If you think that’s a cop-out answer, it’s not. The answer is that addicts go to detox centers. But addicts are people. You can’t stereotype them beyond the fact that they’re human beings.
What Causes the Stigma About Addiction Treatment?
Addiction is a disease that doesn’t have only one face. Addicts can be from any gender, age group, social class, and race. Many addicts are the kind of people you wouldn’t expect to have a problem. They’re functional members of society who live with their addiction like a shameful secret. If you or a loved one needs treatment for an addiction, it’s important to combat the stigma by being as educated as possible. Societal perception should not keep you from getting the help you need.
One of the biggest failings of our society is the judgment we level toward people with addictions. When those around us become aware that we need help for a problem, that we’re seeking treatment, or that we’re admitting we’re an addict, there may be a marked lack of support. Sometimes, this is because of the stigma surrounding drug treatment. Other times, it’s because people aren’t sure exactly how to react. Society has a tendency to blame addicts for their disease. But blame has been shown to have a detrimental effect on recovery. Support, love, and trust are what helps build the important links back up.
How to Overcome Stigma
If you’re dealing with an addiction, the people in your life might cause backlash when you seek help. One of the worst things a person can do is discourage you from going to rehab in case it damages your reputation. You should not need to fear getting medical help because people might think less of you.
When you enter addiction recovery, you’ll need to become equipped with the proper tools to fight your illness. Part of this will be the creation of space for positive aspects of your life.
Education is another one of the most important aspects of combating a stigma. Stigmas are born of ignorance about addiction, and education bestows the knowledge that drives away this ignorance. As you become educated on how addiction works, one common theme you’ll notice is that there are no discriminatory factors regarding your identity.
Instead of trying to figure out what traits made you an addict, it’s better to get to the root cause of your addiction. These roots are often sources of long-buried pain and trauma. It can be painful to face them, but it’s essential that you face them if you want to move forward in your life.
People can sometimes be uncomfortable when these roots are brought into the light. They don’t think that you should talk about such dark, private, personal things. But talking about it is a way to validate that your experiences are real. Your experiences matter. If someone tells you to stop talking about the way you’re combating the root of your addiction, they’re being more concerned with social decorum than with the importance of your experiences.
The Power Comes From You
Whether you have a comprehensive support network or not, you are your biggest advocate in the fight against addiction. You are the only person that you will need to spend the rest of your life with. It’s essential that you learn to be kind to yourself. Your mind and heart need to rest, and addiction treatment will help you learn how to let this happen.
When you go to a detox facility, everyone there will have one thing in common: They’ve all felt powerless in the face of their addiction. They’ve all felt that a drink or substance is more powerful than their sense of self-worth.
And there’s another thing they have in common. They all want to start calling the shots in their lives again.
In the end, you’re the one who has to make the decision. You’re the one who has to make positive and powerful changes to your life, even if they feel like they have consequences to your social relationships. You’re the one who needs to be brave. So many other people have done it, and you can too. Recovering addicts face their journeys with an open mind, open heart, and the courage to love themselves.
If you’re ready to take the first step toward regaining control, our trained counselors are waiting to help. Call 877-927-9048 today.